You can’t deceive the betting public.
The Michigan sign-stealing scandal may soon have repercussions for sportsbooks. If the scope of the alleged operation by the University of Michigan continues to expand, sports bettors could find themselves unable to place wagers on the Wolverines.
News about the potential illicit activities involving the team’s scouting of upcoming opponents came to light last week.
Reports indicate that the university dispatched staff members to rival venues with the purpose of recording sideline actions.
This recorded footage was allegedly used to decode coaching signals, providing Michigan with an advantage on game days.
At the center of the investigation is Connor Stalions, a former Marine who is said to have bought tickets for games under his own name. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Stalions had purchased tickets for 11 Big Ten venues and attended more than 30 games over the past three years. He had also obtained access to the Ohio State vs. Penn State game last week, although the tickets went unused following the exposure of the scandal.
The scope of the University of Michigan’s alleged sign-stealing operation includes both video evidence of electronics prohibited by the NCAA to steal signs and a significant paper trail, sources told ESPN. Stalions forwarded the tickets he bought to at least three different people in different areas of the country, sources say, which hints at the breadth of the operation.
According to Pete Thamel of ESPN, it was later revealed that the extent of the operation was even more extensive. Thamel observed that Stalions had purchased tickets for games beyond the Big Ten, including contests against potential College Football Playoff adversaries.
[Stalions] bought tickets for games at four schools outside of the Big Ten that were either in College Football Playoff contention or playing contenders.
There also is record of Stalions buying tickets to the 2021 and 2022 SEC title games, sources told ESPN. The tickets to the SEC title games were purchased on the secondary market.
Thamel also mentioned the inclusion of a 12th and 13th Big Ten team on the list, encompassing the entire conference.
With the scandal’s ongoing expansion, sportsbooks might begin to exhibit reservations about featuring Michigan in their offerings.
FOX Sports radio host Aaron Torres expressed this sentiment earlier this week.
He highlights that the reason for such a decision would be related to a broader “integrity of the entire sport” concern.
The Wolverines have an impressive track record in their recent games, having gone 4-0-1 in Big Ten play against the spread. Their average scoring margin this season stands at 41-6, and it increases to 46-6 when facing conference opponents.
Michigan has consistently held opponents to fewer than 10 points per game, while their offense has consistently scored 30 or more points in each contest.
Given their success on the field, coupled with the ongoing scandal, it might be sufficient grounds for sportsbooks to consider removing Michigan from their offerings.